Beef brisket. Say hello to your new friend for life. Just as the new Brickfields bakery cafe is breathing new life into the backstreets of Chippendale, the beef brisket sandwich is guaranteed to put a little extra pep into your step at lunchtime.
View into the bakery at Brickfields
Although the cafe may only have been open for two weeks, they've been baking wholesale bread here for three months, on the site of the former Mecca coffee roastery, supplying sourdough to Flour & Stone, Cornersmith and Love Tilly Devine.
Heading up the bakery is Simon Cancio, Luxe founder and former operating partner at Freda's. Simon explains that back then, Paul Geshos from Mecca would often pop into Freda's for a drink and Simon used to joke they should start up a bakery cafe together. Paul took him seriously and before they knew it, Brickfields was born.
Freda's may be a different establishment these days (former head chef Ibrahim Kasif is now at Porteno and bar manager Marty Campaign has moved onto Palmer & Co) but Simon's sourdough lives on in Chippendale.
Olive sourdough and soy & linseed batards
The bakery shift starts at midnight and runs through until about 8am. At the moment they're only producing four types of sourdough: plain, olive, soy & linseed and fig & walnut, focussing on consistency before they expand their range.
Sourdough loaves beneath the blackboard menu
The loaves are piled up in the window and a huge glass window into the baking area gives passersby a peek into all the kneading action.
The breads are reassuringly heavy with a golden crust that's bubbled and crisp. I bought a huge loaf of fig and walnut sourdough ($13) that was eaten for breakfast over the weekend, studded generously with slices of fig and toasted chunks of toasted walnut.
Bran muffin $4
The pastry section is relatively new, and will be expanded as they juggle oven timings with the bread bakers. The croissants are all sold out by lunchtime but Simon says they're worth the early alarm clock. The croissants are baked twice a day and usually sell out by mid-morning.
Custard tart $4.50
Lemon and polenta cake $4.50
In the kitchen, head chef Ben Abiad (ex- Love Tilly Devine and Sean's Panaroma) is in charge of a concise blackboard menu that changes daily. They make all their own pickles -- lined up like an army on the cafe shelves -- too.
Seating is modest with three large tables and benches outside and counter seating inside. It's a quiet cool street however, and most lunchtime locals are happy to order takeaway and park themselves on the brickwork surrounding a nearby tree.
Sopressa, asiago and pickled eggplant sandwich $10
The sopressa, asiago and pickled eggplant sandwich comes straight from the wooden crate in the display case. The thin shavings of sopressa, asiago cheese and pickled eggplant are a perfect Mediterranean combination but it seems a little on the small side for $10.
Quinoa, pepita, sunflower, pecan, currants, yoghurt and honey $10.50
Sunflower seeds, pepitas and pecans give a welcome crunch to a mound of quinoa, but the jewel in the crown is the poached peach, soft and yielding beneath a dollop of yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.
Pearl barley, sorrel, peppers, olives, tomato, parsley and mint $11.50
Health-giving virtue continues with a plate of pearl barley, deliciously toothsome, livened with fresh tomatoes, sorrel leaves and mint against the salty tang of kalamata olives.
Beef brisket with radish, anchovy mayonnaise and chilli $13
Needless to say I only had eyes for the beef brisket. The beef is slow roasted for six hours and the meat is gloriously soft and fatty with a caramelised char on the edges. If you're a fan of pork belly, this is the beef version. All the richness is neatly offset by slivers of radish, pickle spears and a generous slather of red pepper sauce. The anchovy mayonnaise just adds extra goodness.
Although the menu changes daily, Simon admits the beef brisket is likely to stay as a regular feature. "I think there'd be a riot if we took it off the menu!" Phew!
And with Mecca looking after your caffeine, you can count on a good coffee to finish too.
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206 Cleveland Street (near Balfour Street), Chippendale, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9698 7880
Monday to Friday 7am-3pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Chippendale - Freda's
Ultimo - Mecca Espresso
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2/25/2013 01:30:00 am